A retrospective neuropathologic review of 30 SIV-infected pigtailed macaques receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) was conducted. Seventeen animals with lymphocyte-dominant inflammation in the brain and/or meninges that clearly was morphologically distinct from prototypic SIV encephalitis and human immunodeficiency virus encephalitis were identified. Central nervous system (CNS) infiltrates in cART-treated macaques primarily comprised CD20+ B cells and CD3+ T cells with fewer CD68+ macrophages. Inflammation was associated with low levels of SIV RNA in the brain as shown by in situ hybridization, and generally was observed in animals with episodes of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) viral rebound or sustained plasma and CSF viremia during treatment. Although the lymphocytic CNS inflammation in these macaques shared morphologic characteristics with uncommon immune-mediated neurologic disorders reported in treated HIV patients, including CNS immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome and neurosymptomatic CSF escape, the high prevalence of CNS lesions in macaques suggests that persistent adaptive immune responses in the CNS also may develop in neuroasymptomatic or mildly impaired HIV patients yet remain unrecognized given the lack of access to CNS tissue for histopathologic evaluation. Continued investigation into the mechanisms and outcomes of CNS inflammation in cART-treated, SIV-infected macaques will advance our understanding of the consequences of residual CNS HIV replication in patients on cART, including the possible contribution of adaptive immune responses to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine